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It really is starting to become one of my goals while living here in Melbourne - seeking out the best coffee in town. A few weekends ago, we had the opportunity to meet up with a few of Janice's childhood friends who was visiting from Singapore. This time though, we chose a new coffee joint near the Queen Victoria Market. The market is a place that me and Janice are accustomed to going on the weekend to join in with the crowd to shop for fresh produce and meat. What I didn't know was that it was also home to a coffee place that is respectable by Melbourne standards. Padres is kind of hidden away at the corner of the market but the coffee was certainly not bad. We definitely enjoyed it and would come back again when we're in the area next. Is it BBB, Patricia's, or Little Wishes quality? Maybe not, but I didn't find a reason to complain about it. A few small tables with chairs to sit outside while downing a cup by the market sets the scene for this little cafe. We'll be back.

Padre Coffee Queen Victoria Market on Urbanspoon



This past weekend was a good one. For one, it was a weekend of firsts. Firstly, we got the opportunity to hang out with Natasha and Derek from, Beautifully, Suddenly this weekend. I have long since been following Natasha’s flickr and blog. People who know of her work have an idea of the masterful way she works her camera as she has taken some of my favourite editorial grade coffee, flower, and market shots. It was a pleasure meeting with the two of you! Next time, I will buy coffee ok? We also had a chance to meet one of J’s friends from way back when (17 years). Thanks for taking us around in the rain. Looking forward to the next time!

Secondly, we had a chance to visit our first Anthony Bourdain featured restaurant – Porteno. If you are a meat eater, this seriously is a can’t miss restaurant in Sydney. Serving 8 hour slow roasted pork and lamb as well as amazing wagyu skirt steak, it is really no wonder why there is such hype about this place. A word of warning though, get there early if you are a party under 5. We got there at 6:05pm and we ended up having to wait until 7:45pm for dinner because we just missed the first cut. Luckily they had a lounge upstairs where you could order tapas and drinks while you wait. Just don’t order too much food upstairs because you really don’t want to miss out on the entrees. I love steak and I have visited some great steak restaurants in North America but this wagyu steak was legendary.

Finally, we visited Sydney for the first time since our arrival in Australia about 3 months ago. It was only a weekend trip but we felt it was time we took another weekend off to see the other most celebrated city in this country. We wandered around the town, walking enough for a few weeks worth to see some of the sites such as the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t cooperating so the beach was deferred until next time. Rain or not though, we had a great time. We will definitely be back in the very near future (hopefully when the weather is better)!

The rain was around all weekend. But under it gave us a good excuse to settle down and have a few drinks at the Opera House Bar. It certainly doesn't stop the crowds in Sydney from queuing up for great food. Apparently, the seagulls weren't phased either.

Christmas is near! That means Japan is too :)



One of the things that people expect to see when they go to Melbourne is the 12 Apostles. We have now been here for almost 3 months and only this past weekend did we have a chance to go. Good thing we did though because we had some fantastic weather – 24+ with plenty of sun and a nice breeze, what more could we ask for? Of course, what that meant was that we would be on the road with countless other tourists looking to spend a day or the weekend on the famous road as well. A fellow Vancouver-ite made it to Melbourne for the road trip with us from New Zealand. We made it a point to start the day early to deal with that though as we picked up the car at 8 in the morning and headed out of town by about 9.

Our Stops

The good thing about making this a weekend trip is that we had more time to explore and take in the sights. So much of my Europe traveling was done on such a short timeline that you just had to see something and go. We stopped by quite a few sites but by no means is this a comprehensive list. I’m sure that we missed a few and we will make a point to come back again one day to catch up. Anyway, on to our first top!

By the time we got to Lorne we were all very hungry. This stop was about 1.5 hours from Melbourne so it was about 10:30 already at this point and none of us had had any breakfast. The chorus of bag rustling in the car was a sign that we would have to stop for some real food soon. Lorne was a fair sized town with a strip of boutique stores, restaurants, and cafes to serve the weekend road trippers. We settled down at, “The Bottle of Milk” for some burgers and a coffee for me before heading off. Sometimes the fear of going to a restaurant in a tourist driven area is that you’ll end up with expensive cafeteria grade food but this was not the case. The burgers were flavorful and huge as well. Nothing to complain about and certainly miles better than your fast food options. They serve Seven Seeds coffee as well so that’s a plus. Definitely recommend this place as a stopping point for breakfast or lunch on the way.

Apollo Bay and Cape Otway
Our next stop was Cape Otway and the Apollo Bay. Cape Otway is famous in pictures for the lighthouse but ironically that is the one place we did not stop off at. It looked like you had to pay to get in and the sight wasn’t what we were looking for (we were much more keen to see the coast, the cliffs, and the sand instead). Instead, we did go into Cape Otway and saw something else amazing – wild koalas! It’s one thing to see them in captivity or in sanctuaries but here they just hang out on their favorite eucalyptus trees either eating or sleeping… or in our case, walking down a road full of cars. It was one of the most bizarre things that we have ever seen but it is not something I will easily forget. The lone walker literally stopped traffic as people just got out of their cars whilst they were in the middle of the road and started to snap pictures. Be proud, koala, be proud, you caused a traffic jam because of your fluffiness.

Doesn’t he remind you of Stitch? Oh and we saw some pretty cool horses as well.

Gibson Steps
By the time you get close to the twelve apostles, the famous sites all started to pop up within very close proximity to one another. Our next stop brought us to the 12 Apostles (well almost). The Gibson Steps is the first stop that you’ll want to make as you get close to the main attraction. This site was just beautiful. The waves came in hard but in an almost soothing rhythm. In the distance, you can see two stacks of rocks in the water as well which added to the appeal of being there (though, they are not considered part of the Apostles). The sand was fine, soft, and warm while the water was cold at first touch but almost felt luke warm by the time my legs adjusted.

Loch Ard Gorge
Not far from the steps is the Loch Ard Gorge. The viewpoints provide a neat perspective of the gorge but I think in order to really get the full impact of this site, you really need to descend to the beach level to view it from there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware as the sign said “< Loch Ard Gorge, Something Cave >”. Alas we didn’t go down to the cave but that was evidently where we were supposed to go. I can see this as being a site definitely worth spending some time at though so we’ll be sure to revisit this one next time.

The Twelve Apostles
This is what most people come to Melbourne and want to see. Though there weren’t twelve, the site of the apostles in the distance with the setting sun was… how do you describe it… it is one of those moments where you just want to take a deep breath and just take it in. This is going to sound somewhat old fashioned of me but it’s sights like this that make you think that the world is an amazing place. Anyway, the pictures below are what we saw. If I could compare the impact of this place to anywhere else I had been… I would say that this is equally as impressive as the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland and Victoria Falls in Zambia. There are no words that can explain a place like this. You just need to be here to experience it. The weather had gotten progressively colder as the day wore on and by sunset it was cold and very windy. But we stayed for sunset anyway and we were glad that we did.

The Arch, London Bridge, and the Bay of Islands
After a full night’s rest, we headed westwards about 10km’s before looping back inland to get back to Melbourne. The journey west of Port Campbell brought us to some historic sights such as the arch, London bridge, and the Bay of Islands. The pictures below will do the rest of the talking. The pictures were somewhat rushed though as the weather had taken a turn on us, sending temperatures of 7 degrees and extremely gusty wind our way.


After about 5-6 hours on the road, I was really looking forward to settling down for the night. We were absolutely exhausted from the driving, the sun, and the cold during sunset. We settled down for the night at the Parkview Motel in Port Campbell, a small town closest to the Great Ocean Road’s main stopping points. The accommodation was for an apartment/townhouse that was fully equipped with a kitchen, all necessary utensils, television, internet, and two bedrooms. It was a great place to just lay back, have a few cups of wine before turning in for the night. Greg and his wife take care of this place and they were very pleasant as well – though J might disagree as they gave her a great scare after jokingly saying that they had sold our room off after we had passed our check-in time. In all honesty, if you are looking for a place to stay on the Great Ocean Road and want to be near the main attractions, Port Campbell is a great option. From here, you can get to the Apostles in less than 10 minutes. Hard to go wrong with that.


How do you summarize a road trip like this? I love road trips to begin with and when you couple it with amazing natural sites, photography and most importantly great company, you have the makings of something very memorable. We will be coming back here again for sure.



This past week, I was sent out to another part of Australia for work. I don't mind travelling, in fact, I love it. But for work purposes, I did not sign up to move to Melbourne just so that I would be sent out of town for 4+ weeks at a time. Anyway, no more griping for now. One of the best ways to get over stress is to eat. This past weekend, we ventured over to Collingwood to visit Proud Mary's. This is a brunch spot that has been mentioned by many of our friends here in Melbourne so we knew it was going to be good.

p r o u d m a r y

There was a great vibe to this place, it was packed with people that were there for both the delicious looking breakfast (served all day) and the famous coffee. Some have mentioned the coffee served here to be the best in Melbourne. If that isn't a tall feat, I don't know what is (it was fantastic though). The lineup was out the door but somehow we got a spot within 5 minutes of arriving - we're not going to complain about that! The coffee was fantastic, bold and strong, it was exactly what I needed to start the weekend. We both ordered the hash which came with grilled bacon, roasted kale, and a poached egg. The portion size was enormous but it wasn't just the quantity that got our attention. Our breakfast was amazing and would easily rank with the best we have had in Australia. We will definitely be coming back.

Proud Mary on Urbanspoon



Brunch. It is one of my favourite meals of the week (I say week only because the only opportunity I get to eat brunch is on the weekends). Back in Vancouver, you had some great places for brunch if you knew where to go (ie. Café Regalade, Fable, Oakwood, Sopheez, and the list goes on) but here in Melbourne, they are literally everywhere. After being here for over 2 months, you get the feeling that you could go to a new brunch place every week for a year and you would still be able to find a new cafe or brunch spot serving great coffee and interesting dishes. Recently, we visited Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street where we found Slow Poke. Fitzroy is a hip neighbourhood with lots of café’s, restaurants, pubs, and boutiques. Kind of grungy in character but in a good way!

Slowpoke was a small establishment but I liked the layout of the place. The walls and the paint were frayed and imperfect, the picnic style table was aged and well used, but the natural light and the simplicity of the layout just makes this place an attention grabber. The menu is limited but that’s not a bad thing, just means that they do the things that they have, well. The concepts of the items on the menu are not unusual but had their twists that made them unique from the next brunch spot. I had the baguette with smashed eggs, jamon, and lettuce. The baguette was fresh, warm, and crispy and the portion size is substantial. The coffee was pretty great too (seems redundant to say that about coffee in Melbourne).

We would definitely come back. Having brunch here then spending the rest of the day wandering through Fitzroy is not a bad way to spend the weekend!

s l o w p o k e

Slowpoke on Urbanspoon



When we arrived in Melbourne, work gave us about 2 weeks before starting so that we could settle in and find a place to live. We had the idea that if we could find a place to move into within the first week that we would travel somewhere so what do we do on the day that we sign the lease? We went online that night and before we knew it, tickets were booked for the following morning and our hotel was reserved and waiting for us in Bali. Just a short flight (5.5 hours) from Melbourne, Bali was the closest thing to an exotic vacation that we could do before getting back into work mode the next week. Having arrived at the tail end of Melbourne’s winter, we were looking forward to spending a few days in 28 degree weather in Indonesia as well.

We stayed in the Nirwani Pan Pacific Resort. Situated about 1.5 hours away from the airport, the resort was absolutely stunning. Once you walk up the stairs to the foyer/lobby, you look right out into the green court yard and the waves of the crashing sea. We were greeted with a cold Balinese tea and wet towels. We were then escorted to our ocean and pool view room where we couldn’t help but snap photos and take a deep breath just to take in our surroundings. Although this was maybe a bigger hotel than most would like in a place like Bali, this is definitely a first class resort.


Bali is one of those places that you go to relax. I’m not normally one for sitting at a resort as an idea for vacation but this was much needed before starting work in a new country. There is a lot that you can do when in Bali but we chose to do two days of activities. One of those days we went to the Elephant Safari and Adventure Park. We loved it. Aside from the horrid customer service when it came to processing the payment (another story for another time), the experience of being able to be up close to the Asian elephants was one that we will always remember. We got to do an elephant ride around the park and we even got to feed and pet the big guys. Our elephant was called… Derwee (I must have brutalised the spelling) haha.

When I think of Southeast Asia, for some reason, the imagery of rice fields comes to mind. So we made sure that we got a chance to go to the Jutiluwih Rice Fields in Tabanan. It was beautiful and vast but also extremely hot that day. We were sweating up a storm but it was still neat to walk through the rice fields and snap photos along the way. We love exploring and this was a different kind of exploring than you could do in North America or Europe so we loved how different the landscape was.


We had a great time in Bali. From the things we did or didn’t do to the resort that we had the pleasure of staying in, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Bali is a place that we will definitely revisit. It feels good to scratch our first Southeast Asian country off the list though! Time to start planning for future trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore!



Or "Melbun" as they like to call it. This is over a month overdue but this is finally a blog post on Melbourne. We both packed our bags and moved over to Melbourne, Australia in August this year as we both had that itch to see the world from another perspective. Vancouver is a place I will ALWAYS, proudly call my home but when you get a chance to move and live in the city that has been named the world’s most liveable city for three years in a row, you take that chance. It helps that everyone that I have ever met from Australia seem to be such down to earth, cool people too. We heard a lot about Melbourne before we moved over here, the most paramount of here say being that the food and coffee is out of this world. Having been here for over a month, it’s safe to say they were right about that. We have really enjoyed this city so far but some of the highlights has to be the following:

This city is well known and rightfully so, for its food, wine, and coffee. Being so multicultural, Melbourne is a city where you can find food from cultures all over the world. The Asian food here is actually better than what I had in Vancouver and that is saying a lot. Australia is also home to some of the best big red wine regions in the world. Being a big and bold red wine drinker, I have loved the varietals of shiraz’s and blends that I have had the opportunity of trying. The best thing though? Being able to buy a very, very decent bottle of shiraz for about $15 (back home in Vancouver, you’d have to be really looking to get something good for under $20-25 after tax). As for coffee… well I think that’s self-explanatory given the only two posts I have made about Australia thus far have been of coffee shops that I have visited (and I still have about 3 – 4 more places that I have yet to blog about). The only danger related to food in this city is the risk of being overly self-indulgent.

Melbourne is a place where artistic perspectives are appreciated. At least that is my impression upon exploring the city. From Hosier Lane to the quirky decors of the restaurants and coffee shops that we have been to, you get the distinct feeling that being different here is a good thing. It is a stark difference from most of North America where, while some appreciate the quirky and the new, most prefer to be comfortable and roam to the nearest Starbucks or Tim Hortons. I guess one way of describing it is… most places look roughly similar in North America, not so much for Melbourne. Some examples of what I am talking about can be seen in any of the multitudes of coffee shops in town. From broken down old chairs that date back to my elementary school days to wooden chairs hanging off the ceiling for décor, to exposed brick and concrete, the one word to describe the designs that we have seen here is, unique. And you know that feeling you get when you find a good hangout/bar/restaurant in a hole in the wall or an unassuming place that no one else knows about? Well, the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are all in laneways (narrow alley ways with cobblestone) and not on main roads. I still love my home all the same but it goes to show that we have a long ways to go in being unique and different.

There is a lot to like about this city and I’m sure I haven’t seen all of it. We look forward to spending a little bit of time here. Who knows, we may like it so much we could stay here for 5-10-15 years. At the end of the day we’re just going to enjoy this and make the most of the opportunity to live here.



Might as well get used to this. The coffee here is just that good. Another stellar coffee house that we found during our first week was a little store just off of Little Bourke Street. In fact, it was so unassuming that there were no signs indicating what the store was. All you could see was a tiny little space with a small table for sharing and wooden chairs hung to the ceiling as some sort of decorative artifact. What did I think when I saw this? I HAVE to try the coffee :)

The coffee here rivals Patricia's and some of the best that I have had in Melbourne. Definitely worth the visit if you get the chance!

Brother Baba Budan on Urbanspoon



A few weeks ago, we moved to Melbourne. Whenever you make a move from your home town, where your friends and family are, there is always mixed feelings. You miss the comforts of home. For us, Vancouver had everything, including great food and good coffee (if you know where to look). So what do we do to make ourselves at home? We seek out good coffee. After all, we had heard from every one who had been there that the coffee was pretty darn good there. Let's just say, having tried the coffee here, it is one less reason to be home sick.

We went to Patricia's on our first week here and could immediately tell that I wouldn't be missing the coffee back in Vancouver. This place was a little hard to find (like everything in Melbourne, the good places are hidden in some laneway or alley) but we were glad that we did. I would confidently say that this place serves up better coffee than anything we have. The only dangerous thing is that it is only a 3 minute walk from work...

p a t r i c i a ' s

Patricia Coffee Brewers on Urbanspoon



It's been a while since the last post. We made a move from Vancouver to Melbourne and now we're 4 weeks in (almost). Anyway, before we get into that, I wanted to finish the posts on our recent trip to the California coast in July. From San Francisco to Napa Valley and now driving down south along the Pacific Coast Highway towards LA. We had heard so much about the PCH from friends and those who have driven down that path. It got us thinking about the views, the crashing waves, the cliffs, the winding roads... That was more than enough to get us going along that route.

m o n t e r e y

From Napa Valley, we drove 3 hours or so down to Monterey. We heard a lot about this little beach side town. It had that west coast feel as we drove in. Sure enough, you could see the coast to our right as we arrived - good sign. We stayed at the Portola Hotel and Spa while we were there and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Two nights of comfortable rest in a hotel that was right by the water? Not going to complain too much. While we were there we visited the Monterey Aquarium as well. I'll admit, we are kids at heart and we love animals of most kinds so we had a blast here. The jelly fish exhibit was particularly entertaining... for one of us more than the other ;)

We had the chance to go to the little town of Carmel while we were there too. This town was only about a 10-15 minute drive from Monterey but when we got there, we noticed that the landscape was completely different. Much of the Carmel we drove through was slanted downhill with small but purposeful houses perched on the slope. Amidst the ample amount of trees, we found small boutique stores and loads of restaurants. To be honest, if we stay along the coast again, Carmel would be a place we would consider as it just had that quiet but charming feel to it. The restaurants we visited were great and the people were very welcoming and helpful. Not sure how to describe it but visit if you get the chance!

t h e d r i v e

After spending a few days in Monterey, we drove south over 3 hours to get to Pismo Beach. But before that, we made stop after stop after stop to admire the views to our right. All along the Big Sur, we saw view after view of cliffs and ocean below. From Point Lobos State Park to the Bixby Bridge to Pfeiffer Beach... I'll let the pictures do the talking here.

p i s m o b e a c h

Our last stop before heading down to LAX, we stayed in Pismo Beach for one night. A beach front town, this place had a spectacular pier that stretched out into the ocean. Heaps of surfers were on the beach taking in the waves. After checking into our hotel (The Cliffs at Pismo Beach), we ventured out for a bite to eat and even found a great bbq spot by the water (better than anything we had had in Vancouver anyway). Then it was to the beach for shots during sunset where we ran around frantically trying to find the best perspective. There is something about long piers and the water that make a setting so picturesque :)



As part of our California vacation, we knew that we had to visit the wine country. We are by no means wine conniosseurs, but we would not say no to a good bottle of full bodied red wine of the shiraz, syrah, cabernet, or zinfandel variety. Wine is just one of those things that is very subjective. Anyone professing to be an expert in all varietals would be lying but it doesn't stop people from exploring and trying different types. That's the best part about wine is that just when you think you know what you like, you'll come across a bottle that will just open your eyes (and your taste buds) to a whole new sensation. Needless to say, I will have a wine cellar in my house in the future!

Napa Valley is also a beautiful place. As we drove through the country side, we encountered winery after winery. The summer meant that there had been very little rain, resulting in a landscape that was quite dry. Aside from the trees which provided the much needed green, you could tell that the grass had its better days. The drive was only a little over 2 hours from San Francisco as we stayed in the town of Calistoga, a short drive up north from St. Helena. Our accommodations could not have been better. Our choice was the Pink Mansion (literally pink on the outside). Don't let the color confuse you however, this bed and breakfast boast plenty of character and delivered some fantastic breakfasts. The interior was beautiful and classically done. All in all, it was a great stay and we would recommend this place to anyone. We were very glad that we chose to stay here instead of in the town of Napa to be honest with you!


Anyway, back to the red stuff. There are just so many to consider when you go into the Napa Valley / Sonoma Valley region. If you are like us, you will have some trouble figuring out which ones to go to in the amount of time that you had. I can't help you with that decision since everyone's taste for wine differs but here are some of the ones that we visited:

/ Alpha Omega: Probably the location of our favorite red. This is not a brand that I had heard of before coming here but based on a recommendation from our host, we decided to give it a go. At first I thought the recommendation was a bit biased because she said she had a friend work here but boy are we glad we took that recommendation. Great service by the staff as they comped our wine tasting but we ended up buying a $88 bottle anyway (I don't usually buy anything over $50 so that should say something). They do not distribute the vast majority of their wines so you have to go to the winery to get a tasting. Simply put - come here!

/ Duck Horn: A beautiful location, this winery would be easy to miss if you didn't know where the turnoff was. The house was very... how would you say... homey? It has a bit of a large beach cottage feel to it with a fantastic patio. Even in the 30 degree heat, you could sit comfortably in the patio with the shade and the breeze blowing through. The red's are very bold, forward and aggressive. Very old world in its preparation, the merlots and cabernet's were really quite good. Each bottle here is at least $75 and up though so be prepared to fork up a bit if you like the wine.

/ Paraduxx: The sister winery to Duck Horn, we decided to give this a try as they specialized in red blends. We really enjoyed our tasting here, not only because of the service but because of the wine itself too. Served with some great cows milk cheese and some salty crackers, we sat down and enjoyed their cabernet, merlot and zinfandel blends. Smooth and complex, their wines were fantastic. We ended up buying a couple of bottles from here.

/ Sterling: Not much to say about this one. Come here for the view, not the wine.

/ V Sattui: We didn't get a chance to try the wine as we were rushing to get to our Duck Horn reservation but we did enjoy our BBQ picnic on the grounds!

Overall we had a great time visiting the wineries here. Still though, there were so many that we did not have time to see. Oh well, that's our reason for coming again!


What would be a trip to Napa without a visit to Bouchon Bakery? Located in the town of Yountville, this place had quite the line up outside. The macarons were enormous and quite good. Is it as good as those in Paris? Probably not but in North America, I would say that these are right up there at the top.

That same day we also had a chance to eat at Ad Hoc. The menu is small and changes frequently. This is not one of those fancy schmancy restaurants where you have to worry about impressions. For all the talk and hype, this place has a very casual atmosphere and the food is low key but huge on flavor.


We had such a great time in wine country. We spent about 4 days here which was ample time. We just needed some time away from the city and Napa provided some quiet time for the both of us.



What would you eat if you had a week left in Vancouver?

Packing up your bags and leaving your home town can be scary. It is a good thing that both me and J have done this once before so we know what to expect for the most part but it is because we know that we made a list of things that we had to eat and do before hand. Australia, from all that we have heard, has amazing food, some of the world's best coffee, and a great night life. Needless to say, we are so excited to see for ourselves when we get there. But, we have some great eats in Vancouver too so we decided to hit up some places that we love and we knew that we would miss if we left without it. So what do we indulge in with just a week to go in Vancouver?

Pictures taken with a Canon 5D Mark II and iPhone 5

/ Phnom Penh: Everyone who loves food in Vancouver will know this place. Serving up Cambodian/Vietnamese cuisine, they have possibly the best chicken wings that I have ever had in my life. The holy trinity also includes the Beef Luc Lac with a fried egg on top and the butter beef. Lineups galore would not stop me from coming back here (we tried coming here about 3 times prior to our successful night and we were told the waits would be 90 minutes or more).

/ La Buca: This place may be small and out in the middle of no where, but personally I think this is probably my favorite Italian restaurant in the entire city. Seating only about 30-40 people at capacity meant that it had more of a cozy feel to it. The food tastes much like you would expect from a spectacular home made meal. Had our going away dinner here and we were all left extremely full and happy.

/ Santouka: Alright so I was so hungry that I completely forgot about taking a picture and left you with a half eaten bowl of ramen ... hopefully that tells you something about this place. I have not made my way through Japan yet but insofar as Vancouver goes, this place is up there with the best ramen in town (get the spicy miso ramen).

/ Fable: One of my very favorite places for brunch, Fable was opened by Top Chef Canada participant, Trevor Bird. The space is in the trendy West 4th, Kitsilano area but the thing that keeps me coming back is the food (as it should be). The pulled pork pancakes was my first taste at this restaurant and I gotta tell you, these are enough alone to keep you coming back. The pork was tender, sweet, and had a kick from the incorporated jalepeno. On top of all of that was the sweet tomato jam. I'm salivating just thinking about it.

/ 49th Parallel: Couldn't leave Vancouver without having coffee after dinner at 10pm. 49th Parallel is one of my favorite spots for slow coffee in the city and in many ways introduced me to the better form of that delicious black/brown liquid. For me, this place is probably one of the top 2-3 coffee joints in Vancouver! I know Melbourne will have loads to offer here though so I hope I don't miss it too much.

/ Ajisai: Ahh good old sushi. This place is one of the more traditional sushi joints in the city. All the chefs and servers are Japanese which helps with the authenticity but in all honesty, the food is pretty great. The queues can be long but the food makes it worth it. Please Melbourne, have good sushi! If not, at least Japan is close by.

/ Fresh Local Wild: Vancouver is starting to ramp up their food cart scene and one of the stars of the bunch is Fresh Local Wild. They make some amazing fish and chips (honestly better than anything I had when I lived in London, UK) and some very different but fantastic seafood chowder poutine. The fish and chip batter was light and crispy without being overly greasy.

/ Kaya: Let's just say that I love Malaysian food. There is the usual Banana Leaf to go to but when we tried this place, we liked it just a bit more. Great Hainanese chicken and roti canai. Probably one of the better kept secrets in Vancouver as they consistently serve great food but still lack the notoriety of a Banana Leaf.

/ Meat and Bread: Knowing that I was leaving, I had to have the porchetta again. Crispy... fatty... goodness...

/ Bella Gelateria: The line ups here can be crazy during the summer but this is not just another gelateria. The owner has received quite a bit of publicity lately as he won 1st place at the Florence Gelato Festival in 2012. I'm not a gelato connoisseur but this place serves up gelato that easily compares or bests those that I had when I traveled through Italy.

Last but not least though, I had to have my mom's home cooking. Growing up, I always considered myself to be very lucky. One, because my mom is a wonderful cook (she's not fancy, she just knows how to make food that makes me smile and full every time) and two, that I grew up somewhat lean so I could eat more of her food. This is without a doubt, the food that I will miss the most.

I have been lucky to have lived in Vancouver for so long. There is just so much great food here. Here's to hoping that Melbourne has the same, if not more :) Next stop, Australia!



Since the first time I arrived in San Francisco, I have always said that if I were to move to the US, this is the city that I would want to stay. What is there not to love about this place? Fitted with Californian weather (well... Bay weather), loads and loads of amazing food options, nice people, great sense of the appreciation for being different, this is a place that provides all of that. We stayed in the city for most of the time and feasted.


There is so much to do and see in this city. Having been here a few times before we did not have to go and do the same things again but some highlights from this trip included the bike ride across the golden gate bridge towards Sausalito. We also walked through Fisherman's Wharf as anyone would just because it was lively and there was a lot happening there. The Ferry Building is also something we went to see as the farmer's market was going on. So much fresh fruit, produce and flowers. Let's just say that we went a little trigger happy with our cameras here.

Shopping can be had anywhere but we were lucky to have J's Aunt and Uncle pick us up and take us to the Livermore Outlets. Lots of shops here and they were all having their July 4th sales which helped.

One of the best parts about San Francisco though is just how cool it looks. The neighborhoods, the rolling hills... My recommendation? Walk! You'll see some neat things and it gives you some time to work off the heaps of food that you will have undoubtedly gorged yourself on in this city.


We went to a number of great restaurants while we are there. Coming from Vancouver, we are really lucky when it comes to good eats. When you're in San Francisco though, it is easier to find a good restaurant than a bad one. Here are some of the places we went to:

plow: One of my favorite places in the city for breakfast/brunch. I wrote up a blog review on this one here. A photographers paradise too as this place has such nice light and big windows.

limon: We got the chance to meet up with a friend who had just moved down to the Bay area while on this trip. Serving Peruvian food meant to be shared with the table, we loved the chicken. Definitely get that if you can come here. The prices were not bad either as you get a lot of bang for your buck. It gets busy though!

house of prime rib: If you like prime rib, this is the place to go. Old school through and through, the inside of the restaurant looks like something that came out of the late 80's. The chef will come over to your table and carve out the meat and prepare the dish right in front of you. A little pricier but we enjoyed it thoroughly.

bi-rite creamery: We heard about this place from friends and from reviews that did some great, great ice cream. Knowing how much we love gelato, we though, let's give this place a try. The line-up on a Wednesday night was about half an hour as it stretched around the corner of the block. They do not have an extraordinary amount of flavors (a good thing as it shows that they specialize and give it some thought) but it was pretty good! I still prefer Italian gelato though :).

sushi sam's: One of the top three sushi places I have eaten at in my entire life. What more needs to be said? The omakase is a must as they have such a great selection of fresh fish on a good day. Tons of returning customers you could tell that locals come here and they come here often. Read my full review here.

coffee: Being in this city, I knew there were a ton of great coffee shops. We did not get a chance to go back to Philz Coffee but we did get a chance to see some others. See the pictures below for a highlight of the better ones we went to.


We stayed at the Warwick Hotel near Union Square. The hotel is very old and it showed in the hallways and in the building. Having said that, it was kept up nicely and the room was actually very decent. Close and convenient as well as affordable for what it was.


San Francisco is my favorite city in the US. I am a bit biased because I love the west coast, good food, great coffee, and the culture of creativity and innovation. While I won't be visiting again anytime soon, I am glad that we both had a chance to see this place before leaving! Next blog post: Napa Valley!